don't know that we live in a moral universe, but we do. Now what
does that mean, that we live in a moral universe? The word moral
has to do with right and wrong, with justice and with equity. To
live in a moral universe means there are consequences for everything
and these consequences cannot be escaped. Jesus dwelt on this subject
a good deal in Luke 6 all the way from verse 27 to 38, He talks
about these principles, so it was a major subject of the Sermon
on the Mount. However, I would like to go to the gospel of Matthew
instead of reading the long account, I would like to read a very
brief account where Jesus gives us some direct instruction in Matthew
7:1,2. This is in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says,
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment
you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use,
it will be measured back to you."
Now this is
a very interesting statement. And we know that it is true because
the Majesty of heaven said so. And what it says to me is right here
in the last part of verse 2, whatever you dish out is going to come
back What I measure out to you is going to come back to me. Now
you may not give it back to me, but whatever I measure out to you
is coming back. It is going to come right back to me. That is what
it says right here in Matthew 7:2.Is that the way your Bible reads
it? Now this is a profound statement and can be about the most scary
thing in the world. When we look at our past we have dished out
some things to other people and we are already starting to receive
some of it back, and so we know a lithe bit about what this is talking
about. If we are over 20, we probably have dished out some things
that we are already starting to receive back However, this cannot
only have some scary consequences, it can be one of the most exciting
things in the world. Because if you are giving out, you will receive.
Remember Jesus said, in Matthew 5:44, "But I say to you, love
your enemies. . ." If that is what I give out even to my enemies,
what is going to come back? Do you want people to bless you or curse
you? "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good
to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you
and persecute you." So it is very scary to think about because
it can have some awful implications of what is going to happen to
us in the future, but it can also be a very exciting subject to
But it teaches
us to examine the way we are living.
What is going
to come back? Well, whatever we dish out is going to come back,
both positive and negative. If we give out blessing, blessing is
going to come back If we give out cursing, cursing is going to come
back And I want to examine this subject with you this evening as
it relates to many different situations in which we find ourselves.
And the first principle we have already covered, it was right in
the second verse, whatever we dish out is going to come back Always!
because that is a divine law. Let me read that to you from Testimonies
to the Church, vol. 2, 135-6. It says, "The measure we
mete is always measured to us again." Whether it is blessing
or cursing, whatever we give we are going to receive again. So,
we need to start examining ourselves. How many blessings have we
passed out to somebody today? Tomorrow they are going to come back
Or how many curses have we passed out today? They are going to come
back, too. If we have been free to condemn or discourage, what is
going to happen? Let me read that to you from Thoughts from the
Mount of Blessings, 136, she is talking about this text.
"Everyone who has been free to condemn or discourage, will
in his own experience be brought over the ground where he has caused
others to pass; he will feel what they have suffered because of
his want of sympathy and tenderness."
So, if I have
been free to condemn or discourage, what is going to happen? Well,
I am going to be brought over the same ground. The same way that
I have treated others is going to come back to me. "Oh,"
somebody says, "but there are these people, they are making
so many mistakes. Don't you think they ought to be corrected?"
You have thought about the fact, haven't you, that there is more
than one way to correct somebody? The way that we deal with people
who make mistakes that same manner is going to be dealt with us
again because none of us are perfect We all have to be corrected.
Ellen White was writing about this. You will find this in Testimonies
to the Church, vol.3,93. "Frequently the truth and facts
are to be plainly spoken to the erring, to make them see and feel
their error that they may reform. But this should ever be done with
pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but considering
one's own weakness, lest he also be tempted. When the one at fault
sees and acknowledges his error, then, instead of grieving him,
and seeking to make him feel more deeply. ." Ever seen that
happen? Somebody recognizes they made a mistake and the other person
just grinds it in. That is not the way to do. Do you want somebody
to do that to you sometime? ". . .instead of grieving him,
and seeking to make him feel more deeply, comfort should be given."
Oh friend, if
you have to correct somebody, have you figured out what you are
going to do to comfort them when they realize they have made a mistake?
When people have erred and realize they have made a mistake, they
do not just need correction, they need some comfort. They need some
consolation and words of sympathy and good cheer and courage so
they will not get discouraged and want to give up because somebody
is just hammering home how bad they are and how messed up they made
it. The way I dish it out is the way it is going to come back. That
is a divine law and when you understand that divine law, it makes
us think, "How am I going to deal with this situation? However
I deal with this situation sometime later I am going to be dealt
with the same way."
There was a
lady one lime, (you will find this in Testimonies to the Church,
vol. 4, 138-9), and Ellen White told her, "When you see
yourself the way God sees you, you're going to recognize that you
are never going to get in the kingdom of heaven unless you have
a thorough conversion." Now that is a sharp rebuke, isn't it?
But she went on to point out to this lady that what she was doing
to other people was going to come back and she contrasted the way
this lady was dealing with other people with the way that Jesus
dealt with those that He came in contact with in this world. I would
like to read most of this paragraph because it not only shows the
mistakes this lady was making, but it shows what to do to turn things
around in your life to exemplify Jesus. You will notice here, after
saying this to the woman, she says, "...bear in mind that whatever
measure you mete to others it shall be meted to you again.. ."
She says, "If you would do this," (then she mentions three
character defects this lady had.) She says, "You would be more
cautious in your speech. . ." Have you ever needed to be more
cautious in your speech? I have. In fact, lam praying about it.
Moses one lime spoke unadvisedly with his lips, just once, and did
not go into the Promised Land on that account see James 1:19,20
1 have a very good Friend and I think this is one of his favorite
texts. He has quoted it to me so many times that I can remember
it now,(I think), myself ". .let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce
the righteousness of God." So the first thing she advises this
lady, she says, "If you would realize that the way you measure
out to others is going to come back to you, you'd be more cautious
in your speech."
I had a teacher
one time when I was in elementary school. You know children can
get heated up emotionally just quite hot, very, very quickly. And
so she used to tell us, she would say, "You need to count to
ten before you speak" My problem was that I could count to
ten so fast that was not enough. I found out that I had to pray
before I spoke otherwise I would say something terrible and then
I would have to start making apologies. So she [Ellen White] advised
this lady, "If you realize that what you dish out is going
to come back, you would be more cautious in your speech because
what you dish out with your tongue is going to come back" ".
.milder a~d more forgiving in your disposition. Christ came into
the world to bring all resistance and authority into subjection
to Himself. But He did not claim obedience through the strength
of argument or the voice of command; He went about doing good and
teaching His followers the things which belonged to their peace.
He stirred up no strife, He resented no personal injuries.. ."
Have you ever tried to think that through? Have you ever wondered
in your mind how was it that Jesus, when people were spitting on
Him and slapping Him and beating Him and pulling His hair and throwing
Him around and cursing at Him and making base remarks about Him,
ridiculing and sneering Him, and through all that He never responded
with one contemptuous or reviling word? Do you know why He could
do that? Because He had no resentment inside. If we have resentment
inside, it is going to come out Sooner or later it is going to come
out and then we will have made work, perhaps, for much apologies.
Now, if we have
done that, of course we need to make the apologies, but the Lord
wants to teach us how to live so that we will not have to make the
apologies. We are not harboring any resentment in our heart, so
those kinds of words do not come out and so there is no apology
to make. "He resented no personal injuries, but met with meek
submission the insults, the false accusations, and the cruel scourging
of those who hated Him and condemned Him to death. Christ is our
example. His life is a practical illustration of His divine teachings.
His character is a living exhibition of the way to do good and overcome
evil." How are you going to overcome evil? Jesus knew. He knew
that what you put out was going to come back and so He just kept
sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing, planting, planting, planting the
good seed. We are coming in a few minutes to that good seed that
we need to be planting all the lime.
See, one of
our problems is, we do not know ourselves very well. We have been
told this in inspiration. We do not know ourselves very well. We
do, not understand very much. lam not accusing you of this. I am
reading from inspiration. This is Testimonies to the church
vol. 5, 246, so I am making no accusation against you. But
inspiration says, "We know but little of our own hearts and
have but lithe sense of our own need of the mercy of God."
We do not understand our dire need of the mercy of God and "this
is why we cherish so lithe of that sweet compassion which Jesus
manifested toward us and which we should
one another." We need to always remember when we believe that
there is somebody else who has some terrible character defect or
done something or said something terrible that we need to get corrected,
we need to always remember that we ourselves are weak, sinful and
erring. And since we are weak, sinful and erring ourselves, we need
to be careful that we do not pass judgment on somebody else that
maybe does not deserve even what we deserve.
In fact, here
in Matthew 7:3, Jesus talks about this and He says, "And why
do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider
the plank in your own eye?" You do not consider the log in
your own eye, but you see the splinter in your brother's eye. I
will show you something Ellen White said about that text. She says,
that the very fact that you recognize the speck in the other one's
eye is the sign that you have the log in your own eye. If you see
the splinter in your brother's eye, be sure that there is a log
in your own. We will not take lime tonight to investigate that,
to try to understand how that comes to be. But that happens to be
the way it is and that is what it says in the scripture. But we
will not investigate it. We just want to understand how we can make
use of this principle. See this principle is something that can
send you and other people toward hell or toward heaven. If you understand
it and use it properly, whatever you measure out, it is going to
I want to say this as kindly as I know how, but we need to recognize
what we are dealing with. In Adventism, in Historic Adventism, the
devil tempts us to find fault with others whose habits of living,
perhaps, are not right or their theology is not right or something
else about them is not right. This is so common that if you looked
up all the references in the Spirit of Prophecy about this
statement, you would find that, the vast majority, of church trials
arise from this source. This is important enough that Ellen White
had instruction after instruction given to her in vision I want
to learn the lesson that the
Lord is trying
to teach us. How about you? And I want to read to you from a vision
that Ellen White had about this problem of finding fault because
it is a very, very serious problem.
This is a vision,
and in the book Upward Look, 216, you will find her statement
concerning this vision. It is an abbreviated statement. She says,
"Last night I was in a sleepless state much of the lime. Many
representations passed before me. One was a scene in a council meeting
where several were present. One man arose and began finding fault
with one of his brethren. I looked at the speakers' garments, and
saw that they were very undesirable.
person arose, and began to state his grievance against a fellow
laborer. His garments were of another pattern, and they, too, were
undesirable. Still another, and another, arose, and uttered words
of accusation and condemnation regarding the course of others. Everyone
had some trouble to speak of, some fault to find with someone else.
All were presenting the defects of Christians who are trying to
do something in our world. . ." See these are all Adventists
and they are all criticizing each other.
repeatedly that certain ones were neglecting this or that or the
other thing, and so on.
was not real order, no polite courtesy, in the meeting. In their
anxiety to make others hear, speakers crowded in while others were
still talking. Voices were raised, in an effort to make all hear
above the din of confusion...
many had spoken, One of authority appeared, and repeated the words:
Judge not, that ye be not judged.' (Matthew 7:1). . . .Christ Himself
was present. An expression of painfulness came over His countenance
as one after another would come forward, with uncouth dress, to
expatiate upon the faults of various members of the church.
the heavenly Visitant arose. So intent were those present on criticizing
their brethren, that it was with reluctance that they gave Him opportunity
to speak. He declared that the spirit of criticism, of judging one
another, was a source of weakness in the church today. Things are
spoken that should never find utterance. Everyone who by word of
mouth places an obstruction in the way of a fellow Christian has
an account to settle with God.
solemnity the Speaker declared: The church is made of many minds,
each of whom has an individuality. l gave My life in order that
men and women, by divine grace, might blend in revealing a perfect
pattern of My character, while at the same time retaining their
individuality. No one has the right to destroy or submerge the individuality
of any other human mind, by uttering words of criticism and faultfinding
and condemnation." So, if I am seeking to find something in
somebody else to condemn, the fact that I have found the splinter
is the sign that I have the log in myself.
are many other areas where this principle bears weight and can help
us in making wise decisions, but speech is one. We have looked at
several areas in regard to speech. How many people have I blessed
today by my speech? Whatever you have said today, friend, someday
it is coming back because Jesus said, "With what measure you
mete, it will be measured to you again."
But there are
other things in addition to speech where this principle needs to
be investigated. For instance, we have obligations to people who
are in need of our help. Do you remember what James said in James
1:27? He says, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and
the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble,
and to keep oneself unspoiled from the world." There are poor
and suffering ones around us in every community. In Matthew 25:31-46Jesus
gives a story of His second coming when He would separate the sheep
from the goats. And you remember the one issue that separates the
sheep from the goats, it is just with one question, and that is
how did you treat the people who were less fortunate than yourself?
The people who were hungry, that were thirsty and needed clothing,
the people who were cast out and had no home, the people who were
sick and in prison? Those are the categories mentioned in Matthew
25:31-46. What are we doing for these people? What we are doing
for these people, Friend, will determine our eternal destiny. If
you did not know that Jesus was coming soon, if you did not know
the Three Angels' messages, if you did not know what to do to have
eternal life and there was somebody in your community very close
at hand that did know, what would you want them to do for you? What
would you want them to do?
saw in vision what was going to happen one of these days. She said
that the judgments of God, were in the land and people were terrified.
And then there were some Adventists and they said, "Well this
is what we were expecting. We just weren't expecting it so soon."
And she said, the people around them said, "You were expecting
this? Well, if you were, why didn't you tell us about it? You've
done business with me, you've known me for along time. You've never
told me. How come?" She says, "I heard words like that
all around." Our eternal destiny is determined, not by what
we profess, it is character that determines it. As I measure out
to others, it will be measured to me. When I give bread to them,
Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you have done to one of these the
least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me." When I
give bread, He will give to me the bread of life. When I give water,
He will give to me the water of life. When I give to others clothing,
He will give to me the garment of His own righteousness. When I
visit those who are in prison, He promises to set me from the bondage
in the prison house of sin. What! give, you see this is an eternal,
divine law that always works because God has ordained that this
is the way the universe is going to operate.
you using this divine law so that you will be happy to receive what
you measured out? How are you doing in regard to visiting? I was
talking to some Seventh-day Adventists like yourselves in Southern
California a few weeks ago about this. I said to them--! really
meant it--, but I wanted them to get objective with their thinking.
--I do not think sometimes that we are objective enough in our thinking--.
And I said to them, "There should never be a time when a whole
week has gone by since you have made your last Christian visit."
And I believe that There should never be a time when a whole week
has gone by since you have made your last Christian visit. contacting
the sick, or those in prison, or those who are poor, or those who
are orphans, or those who are widows, or those who are destitute,
or those who are lame, or physically or spiritually lame. By the
way, there are people all around us who are emotionally crippled
who will never make it to the kingdom of heaven unless they get
some help. You see when you are walking up a mountain trail and
there is a great big boulder in the path you may be able to go over
it, but a person on crutches cannot. If somebody cannot get a way
around that, he cannot make it. Paul talks about the emotionally
and spiritually crippled in Hebrews 12:13. He says, "Make straight
paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated."
I was talking
to someone this morning, who told me that over 30 percent of our
own students at Walla Walla College has only one parent -- either
one parent has died or there has been a divorce. The home is broken.
In addition to that there are those who come from mixed marriages
where this is a Christian and a non-Christian in the same home.
And so as a result of this, we have people who are spiritually and
emotionally crippled all around us. They need help. "Oh,"
somebody says, "I can't help everybody in the world."
Now Friends, that is an excuse. No, I cannot help everybody in the
world either, but can I help one? In the city where I live there
are 300,000 in the city and if you include the greater metropolitan
area there is about 500,000 and I could easily say, "Well,
I can't help all those people." and not do anything. But just
because I cannot help every single one does not mean that I cannot
help one. I can start by helping one and then another and then another
and then another. And then as they help others and others and others,
many people can be helped. This is something you want to think through
in your individual life and in your church life. Do you want to
have a living, healthy, vibrant church? Remember, as you measure
out you are going to receive back if every family in your church
is making Christian visits every week, let me tell you, you are
going to have a church that comes alive. But if you have people
in your church and all they ever do is come to church and do not
even come to prayer meeting, they just come to church once a week
and then go home and dissect the sermon and the preacher, you are
not going to have a living church. See, to have a living church,
you have to have a working church. And always people say, "Well,
I'm not trained." Listen, by the way, lam all in favor of training.
We have a Bible worker training school and we have tapes and videos
to train people to give Bible studies. I believe in training people,
but listen, even if you are not trained, you could still get started.
Let's just think through what is involved in making a Christian
visit and see if you can do this.
1. Can you pray?
Can you pray out loud?
2. Can you be
3. Can you express
sympathy? do you know what it means to express sympathy? It means
that you are sympathetic to the feelings of other people. Now you
do not have to agree with their feelings, but you can be sympathetic
to their feelings.
If you know
how to express sympathy, if you know how to be friendly and if you
know how to pray, you can make a Christian visit. if you have a
Bible and can read, you can do that, too. There are four things.
Probably everybody in here who is over eight years old can read
and if you have a Bible and you can pray and if you can be Friendly
and can express sympathy, you are qualified right now to make a
Christian visit to somebody. And they are all around. What could
happen in Adventist churches if every family, at least once a week,
was making at least one Christian visit? By the way, if we started
doing this, a lot of us would find out we could make several Christian
visits a week But you will never make the second one until you make
the first one. Remember as you measure it will be measured again.
Have you ever
thought about the fact that there might be some time when you are
sick, sometime when you are in trouble, there might be some time
when some type of disaster happens to you. None of us are immune,
are we? Would you like somebody to visit you? Would you like somebody
to help you? Would you like somebody to be sympathetic with you
when you are in trouble? Remember, the divine rule is, as you measure
so it will be measured back to you.
The story of
the Good Samaritan is this principle in action. Some people say,
"Well, Pastor John, it all sounds good, but if you just knew
the people I have to live with and the people I have to work with,
you'd understand the situation. You just don't know the kind of
people I have to live with and the kind of people I have to work
with. You just don't understand." And I would never argue with
them. But do you know, Friends, Jesus had to meet up with that Jesus
had to be around some pretty awful people. In fact, did you know
that the people that probably hurt Jesus the worst of all were the
people in His own household. They did not believe Him. It says so
in John 7. His own brothers did not believe Him and that was six
months before the crucifixion so that was not early, that was late.
He knew all about that. What are you going to do for the people
who are the most erring, they need the most correction? They are
just the most awful people around and you have to deal with them.
Well, I want to read to you what Jesus did. Is Jesus our example
in all things? I want to read to you what Jesus did for the people
who were the worst. They were what we would call "the scum
of society". The off scouring of all things, the refuse of
the world. I want to read to you how Jesus treated these people.
This is from
Pacific Union Recorder, April 10, 1902, "His mission
was to sinners, sinners of every grade, of every tongue and nation.
The most erring, the most sinful were not passed by." By the
way, if you are a sinner like lam, that is good news. "His
efforts were especially for those who needed the salvation He came
to bring. The greater their need for reform the deeper was His interest,
the greater His sympathy, the more earnest His labor." So how
did Jesus treat the very worst people? He gave them "His greatest
interest, His greatest sympathy and His most earnest labor. His
great heart of love was stirred to its depths for the ones whose
condition was the most hopeless and who most needed His transforming
grace." Are there any people around like that today? We need
to think about this for a lithe while. And you are going to see
gospel net is cast out and it gathers in--the Bible says-- "every
kind" and brings people into the church and some of the people
who are brought into the church have been the most sinful in the
world. That was the way it was in the time of the apostle Paul.
(Read 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10). If you read the different sins mentioned
there, he mentions about every kind of immorality you can think
of, even today. Some of those people were of the lowest of society,
the most sinful. When some great sinner is brought into the church,
do you know what happens very often? There is some saint who says
something to the effect, "Well, I'm just not sure that he can
hold out" Ever heard that? "I'm sure whether this person
can make it or not." Now if you were in that position, how
would that make you feel? Would that make you feel full of courage
and say, "By the grace of God, I'm going to overcome. Period."
Would that make you feel encouraged or how would it make you feel?
Do you realize, Friends, that by passing by on the other side and
by showing coldness and neglect to people who are great sinners,
instead of being saved they get, discouraged and are lost. Because
they do have big problems to over come in their lives, they are
discouraged by all this coldness, neglect and indifference and by
people who say, "Well, I don't think they can make it."
Let me read
to you from this same article in the Pacific Union Recorder, what
Ellen White says about this. She says, "Often the newly converted
soul has fierce conflicts with established habits or with some special
form of temptation. Being overcome by some master passion or tendency,
he is guilty of indiscretion or actual wrong." And so what
happens then? There are some churches that never can grow because
when some sinner comes into the church and they are starting to
learn how to overcome their sins they get no encouragement And maybe
they have a fierce bathe to fight. She talks here about fierce conflicts
and maybe sometimes in their fierce conflicts the person is actually
overcome and does something that is actually wrong. What do we do
when that happens? The scriptures says, "Brethren, if a man
is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such
a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also
Oh friend, if
somebody in the church is overcome because
I they have
fallen or slipped back what to do. into an evil habit, how do we
treat them? Here is the way we should not treat them. "How
little of the pitying tenderness of Christ is manifested by His
professed followers. There has been among us, as a people, a lack
of deep, earnest, soul-touching sympathy and love for the tempted
and erred. Many have shown great coldness and sinful neglect, passing
by on the other side, keeping as far as possible from those who
most need help. When one errs others too often feel at liberty to
make the case appear as bad as possible." Have you ever seen
that happen? "Unless we cultivate the precious plant of love,
we are in danger of becoming narrow, unsympathetic, bigoted and
critical, esteeming ourselves to be righteous when we are far from
being approved by Christ Some are uncourteous, abrupt, harsh, these
do incalculable harm by their misrepresentation of the loving Saviour."
So what do you do if somebody comes into the church and they are
bathing with their old habits and trying to overcome, but they slip
and they fall? What do you do? Here is
1. Have you
felt a burden for the one you saw venturing into forbidden paths?
Are you burdened for their soul's salvation?
2. Have you
kindly admonished him?
3. Have you
wept for him? Do you really feel for him?
4. Have you
prayed with him and for him?
5. Have you,
by tender words and kindly acts, shown him that you love him?
Think it through
yourself, if you are battling through some terrible temptation in
your life, you do not need everybody in the church telling you how
bad you are. You know that already. You need some encouragement.
You need somebody to tell you they still love and that they are
praying for you and that the Lord is going to give you the victory
over whatever it is you are battling with. You need somebody who
really feels for you. Remember, the way you dish it out is the way
it is going to come back.
I want to talk
fora minute or two about confession and forgiveness. Jesus said
this also in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:14, 15. He deals
with this principle over and over again. He says if I will forgive,
then what will happen? Then I will be forgiven. Oh Friend, do you
want the Lord to forgive you? I know that if the Lord does not forgive
me, I am lost. That is just the reality. And I am not criticizing
you, you know it is true, don't you? You know what it says in Romans
3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
How are you going to get to heaven? You are not going to get to
heaven either unless the Lord forgives you. Is that right? That
is the only way any of us are going to get to heaven. We will not
take time, but read it to yourself, Matthew 18:21-35, the story
of the unforgiving servant; the man who was forgiven 10,000 pounds
and he would not forgive his own fellow servant of a debt that was
less than three months' wages. And Jesus ends the parable by saying
that the king was worth against that servant and he cast him in
the prison until all should be repaid to him. And then Jesus said,
"So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you,
from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespass."
I know that
I will never be saved unless I receive a pardon of forgiveness from
my heavenly Father. I know that. I have no questions about that.
I have known that for many years. But the divine law is "As
you measure it will be measured to you." If I have a forgiving
spirit toward you, if you have said or done something wrong against
me, then my heavenly Father will forgive me. Now when you apply
that rule to yourself are you in line for a pardon from God? Something
to think about, isn't it? As you measure so it will be measured
to us. If I want to receive a pardon from my heavenly Father, I
must have a forgiving spirit.
Object Lessons, 251, says, "We are not forgiven because
we forgive, but ~ we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found
in the unmerited love of God. By our attitude toward others we show
whether we have made that love our own. Wherefore Christ says, 'With
what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure
ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.'Matthew 7:2." The
ground of all forgiveness is what? The unmerited love of God. That
is where forgiveness comes from. But if I have received that love,
then I will have a forgiving spirit toward you if you wrong me.
Friend, I say this not to judge anybody, but I want to make a very
serious appeal and I want you to get to praying about this. In Historic
Adventism today, we are in a dire need of a forgiving spirit We
are in dire need of it. Read Matthew 18. If we do not get it, we
are in serious trouble with eternal consequences.
I want to read
to you just one sentence from Review and Herald, April
26, 1892. There is a whole paragraph here that is very good to read
because it talks about sowing and reaping and we could spend several
minutes on this, but she says, "This talking against others
must be stopped among those who profess to be the children of God."
So what we do to others is going to come back to us again. And therefore,
we should be careful how we treat one another. James 2:13 is a text
that I have done considerable meditating upon. Actually, I had never
thought about it that much until l was at the Hope International
campmeeting a few years ago and my brother was preaching. I happened
to be able to be there that day and hear him preach and this was
one of the main points of his sermon. James 2:13 says, "[He
shall have] judgment without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy."
If I want God to be merciful to me, what must I do to others? I
must show mercy to others.
I want to just
spend a few minutes on that so that you do not miss the point. Think
this through, when do you have an opportunity to show mercy to somebody
else? Now let's think this through. If somebody has done a perfect
job, do you need to show them mercy? No. They do not need mercy,
they did a perfect job. Okay, now I want you to think it through
when do you need to show somebody mercy. When? When they have blown
it. Is that right? When they have messed it all up. When they did
it wrong. Is that right? That is what mercy is all about. if they
did a perfect job, they do not need any mercy. They did it right.
The next time somebody in your family or somebody where you work
messes everything up, are you going to remember that? That is your
chance to show mercy to somebody. That is your only chance. The
only time you have the opportunity to show mercy to somebody is
when they mess it up, when they do not do it right, when they make
a mistake, when they blew it, or when it is all done wrong. When
they did it right, they do not need mercy. It is amazing how much
we believe in mercy until people need it. Have you ever noticed
By the way,
if you are going to develop a merciful character, you are going
to do it right now before you get to heaven, because when you get
to heaven there will be no one to give mercy to. Have you ever thought
about that? Through all eternity you will never have to practice
mercy again. In fact, Ellen White is very clear about this. The
angels did not really comprehend what mercy was until sin came in
because until sin came in there was no need for mercy. God had it
in His heart, but He never needed to manifest it. There was nobody
who needed it. And when you get to heaven again there will be no
one to need mercy. If you are going to demonstrate it, if you are
going to develop that character trait, if you are going to have
a heart that is full of mercy, you are going to learn it right now.
It will be too late when you get to heaven. You have to learn it
right now. This is the place. There are still people around here
that blow things and mess things up and do it wrong and all that
I want to talk
for just a minute or two about what is safe. Since anything that
you measure out is going to come back to you, you might get scared.
"What am I going to give out? Anything that! am going to give
out is going to come back What am I going to give out?" Well
mercy is one thing and love is another. If you are busy giving love,
demonstrating the love of God, giving it to others, it may not come
back to you immediately, but it is going to come back. And that
is something that is safe to always give out. It is safe to bless
people even if they are cursing you. It is safe to love people even
if they are your enemies. It is safe to do something good to people
even if they hate you. It is safe to pray for people even if they
despitefully use you and persecute you.
and Herald, November 21, 1899, she has just quoted Matthew
7:1-3, she says, "Let us heed the instruction. We may dwell
upon the love of God with all safety. Let us open the door of the
heart to this sweet influence; for it will expand the soul, and
give it something upon which to feed. ft will create a new capacity.
"He who loves God will love his brother also." Here is
the bottom line. This is a sentence that! consider so important
that you might want to memorize it You can memorize it right now.
ft is a short sentence. If you have this sentence memorized in your
mind, it will help you in your daily life in making decisions. It
is found in Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 93. It says, "God
will deal with us as we deal with one another. "How is God
going to deal with us? The way we deal with one another.
And the last
thing I want to talk about tonight is about marriage. Did you know
that this principle, "As you measure so it will be measured
unto you again" works in every relationship of life? Especially
it works in the home and most especially it works in the marriage
relation. What you give, you are going to receive. We are having
the worst epidemic of divorces in Adventism that we have ever had
since I can remember. By the way, many of my growing up years were
in the Upper Columbia Conference. I can remember when I was a small
boy and there was a church gathering or dinner like we plan to have
tomorrow here and the men in the church were talking. Well, I was
a small boy, you know what small boys do, they stand around and
listen to what the men are talking about. They were talking about
divorce and what a terrible thing had happened. And do you know
what they were talking about that was so terrible that happened?
There was a church, now it was not our church, I never saw anybody
get a divorce in any church I attended growing up in the Adventist
church. I never saw that happen in any church that I attended that
I can remember. But they were talking about divorce and they were
horrified because there was a church up here in the northwest where
a man and his wife had gotten a divorce.
We are having
an epidemic of divorces and you know if we could learn this principle,
"As we measure, it will be measured to us again", do you
know that the great majority of these divorces could be avoided.
I want to read to you from Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 161. This
was written in 1863 and this is really an interesting statement
about divorce and it has to do with this principle about measuring
to others and getting the same thing back It is about a man who
is named by name. His name is Victor Johnson and here is what it
says about him. He was divorced, by the way, by his wife. Here is
what it says, "I was shown," in other words she had a
vision about this, "that Victor Johnson has truly loved his
wife. She was dearer to him than any other one upon the earth. When
the divorce was in progress his feelings were intense. He besought
his wife to defer the matter." Have you ever heard that happen?
One of the spouses says, "Oh please, let's not do this right
now. Let's wait a lithe while." Now why did he want her to
defer? Notice what it says, "He promised amendment" He
said, "I'm going to try to change." Evidently he had some
problems in his life. People never get divorces when both of them
are perfect. You understand that. "He promised amendment. He
promised to not trouble her, but go away and reform." He said,
"I won't even live with you right now. I'll go away and live
somewhere else and try to get my life straightened out." And
notice what Ellen White says, "She [that is his wife] should
have eagerly grasped even that feeble hope that it was possible
that he might amend. And even if she had to suffer some time longer,
given him another chance. There was an error in still pressing matters
forward although those engaged in the mailer thought they were taking
the best course. Yet, they did not exercise the pitying love toward
Victor that Jesus has shown them and they should have considered
that with what measure ye mete to others, it shall be measured to
he said, "give me a lithe time. I'll try to straighten my life
out. I won't trouble you. I'll go away. I'll try to reform."
She said, "No, we're going to get a divorce now." Ellen
White says she should have given him another chance. "You didn't
show him that same pitying love that Jesus has shown toward you.
Remember, as you measure so it will be measured to you again."
"With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Oh Friend, I do not know what you have been measuring to people
in the past, but as I have studied this subject I realize I need
a reform in my life. I want everything I give to others to be good.
I want to be giving love. I want to be giving blessings. I want
to be giving what is good. I want to be praying for people who are
my enemies. I want to be doing what Jesus did. People gave all types
of terrible things to Him and He gave them something good in return.
That was the way Jesus was.
Oh friend, when
you apply this law to your life, are you in line to receive a pardon
of God? Are you in line to receive blessing and love and forgiveness?
If not, if your record in heaven is just not the way you would like
it right now, you ought to change it
How are you
going to change it? In your daily living. You need to keep praying,
say, "Lord, help me to measure out what I would want somebody
else someday to measure back to me." Is that what you want
to do? If you want a reformation in your life so that you will be
happy when it starts being measured back, if that is really what
you want, if you want the Lord to work a miracle in your life, I
want to invite you to kneel down with me and let's pray that the
Lord will help us to use this rule to our eternal salvation and
not to our damnation.